2018 red paddle co racing paddle boards - 2018 range of inflatable race SUP paddle board

  • 2019 Fanatic 10’4″ Fly Air

    From: $899.00
The 2019 Fanatic Fly Air 10’4″ x 33″ x 5.5″ is billed as a versatile all round board with great features and attention to detail at an unbeatable price. The Fly Air range from Fanatic are the ultimate boards that everyone can enjoy. Easy to carry, straight forward to setup, strong, stiff and durable, Fanatic’s neatly packed Fly Air’s inflate into four finely tuned models (9’0″, 9’8″, 10’4″, 10’8″) for all round, flat water fun or small surf action. We’ll be taking a closer look at the 10’4″ in this review.

Inspired by Fanatic’s popular Fly composite range, the Fly Air inflatable paddle boards are the convenient answer to limited storage, city life and travellers’ demands. The all-round, longboard style outline offers a great mix of glide, stability and all terrain versatility.

We’ll take a closer look at the 2019 Fanatic Fly Air 10’4″ inflatable SUP and see if the board is up to par, worth the money or a premium board at a budget price.

TL;DR: The 2019 Fanatic Fly Air 10’4″ inflatable paddle board is exceeding good value. At just $899 Fanatic provides a high quality single-skin-with-stringer SUP that really feels and performs like a premium board. Awesome looking graphics, large and grippy deck pad. Everything you need and nothing you don’t on the Fanatic Fly Air inflatable boards. Excellent value for money.

Fanatic Inflatable SUPs in 2019

The Fanatic Fly Air range features optimised thickness provides outstanding rigidity without additional air pressure, whilst the extra volume caters to those looking for an even easier ride. The Fly Air models come in four sizes, 9’0″, 9’8″, 10’4″ and the super floaty 10’8″. Additional side fins supply extra grip when catching little waves.

To outline their leading standards in terms of quality, design and durability, Fanatic offer the Fly Air in two constructions; the Lightweight Stringer Technology (known as Fly Air), as well as the Premium construction (known as the Fly Air Premium) with Double Layer Light technology, and additional third layer rail-bands. Great attention to detail ensures fast and easy inflate/deflate functions and effortless transportation.

What’s new for 2019 on the Fly Air?

  • Updated board graphics
  • Revised bag with larger zipper opening

On the whole, no major changes for 2019, but progression none the less towards a better overall product and package.

The bag

The Fanatic Pure back pack is light weight all-in-one backpack with padded shoulder straps and storage pocket for board including all accessories. Simple, straight forward. Everything you need to move and carry your board, but nothing excessive or to weigh you down.

  • Padded shoulder straps for easy transport
  • Inner and outer storage pockets
  • Three sided zipper for easy access
  • Side cinching straps to compress bag or hold paddle/pump/accessories externally
  • Medium: 35″ x 17″ x 10″ and 3.3 lbs
  • Large: 38″ x 17″ x 12″ and 3.7 lbs

There is plenty of space in this bag for your board, and some. There is easy access from the new wider opening zipper configuration. Board, pump, paddle, and even a small wetsuit or PFD etc, will fit in this bag easily. Only thing to watch for is over filling it with and not being able to carry it. Without wheels, it’s a paired back and streamlined bag but it does mean you have to carry it on your back.

Carry handles on one side, as well as the top, give you easy points to lift the bag from. The back pack system is simple with basic padding and no waist strap.

The pump

Coming with all Fanatic inflatable stand up paddle boards, is the Fanatic Power Pump HP2. double action pump. Similar to others on the market (most noticeably Starboard/Naish), the pump is a single skinny cylinder good to 20+ PSI

  • Switch from double to single action for fast and easy inflation
  • Easy to read color coded gauge
  • Ergonomic pump handle
  • Comfortable handle height for pumping without touching your knees

Inflate the board with the pump on the double action setting (up and down), up to about 8-10 PSI on the included gauge, and then you switch the lever over to single action (down only) and continue all the way to 20 PSI.

The board

The Fly Air range of inflatable paddle boards use Fanatic’s Stringer Technology (STR). This utilises the best drop stitch material available on the market, and the Stringer Technology provides an outstanding durability/weight/price/performance ratio with its center stringer keeping the shape strong and stiff, while reducing weight and price at the same time. In the drop stitch, the material used for the Fly Air is a durable Tarpaulin PVC. On the inside of the Fanatic Fly Air, thousands of nylon threads connect the deck with the bottom of the board to keep it in a functional and performing shape.

In the Fly Air range, the 9’0″ and 9’8″ are 4.5″ thick and the 10’4″ and 10’8″ are 5.5″ thick. The varying thickness improves stiffness on the larger boards as they typically carry larger paddles. It also improves the carrying capacity of these models. While thicker boards are generally stiffer (at the same pressure), a thicker board is less connected or in-tune with the water. Imagine standing on a 10″ thick board, it’d be stiff but you’re not really standing on a board, more like a dock. So for this reason companies like Fanatic alter the board thickness for size and purpose of the board.

As we can see, the board is splendidly decorated in the blue and white color scheme with the accent of the red central carry handle. You can see the stringer running down the center of the board from nose to tail on both sides. It has the printed pattern on it. There is a good sized cargo net area up the front. The EVA foam diamond cut deck area is wide and long covering a lot of the board providing excellent grip and feeling under foot. My only gripe here is there is no transition in deck textures or a kick pad at the tail. I like to know how far my feet have moved back without having to look down.

The carry handle is quite soft so it doesn’t get in the way if you want to sit or lay down on the board. Still very sturdy and padded but some handles on other boards can we awfully rigid and get in the way. I like this simple approach.

At the tail of the board we have the Halkey-Roberts high pressure valve. Surrounded by some helpful inflation tips and safety warnings. Coupled with the valve is a stainless steel d-ring to attach a leash.

On the underside we see the stringer again, along with a second d-ring. This one is mounted on the nose so you can lightly tow the board or anchor it. Towards the tail we have the 2 low profile flexible side fins and the US Box center fin. The Fly Air comes with a 7.6″ dolphin shaped all round fin. The thruster 3 fin arrangement works well for this board. Grip on the sides and good tracking from the center fin.

The rest

The package includes a standard repair kit with glue and patches, set up instructions and a wrapping strap to keep the board rolled up.

On the water

This model of the Fanatic Fly Air is probably the best all rounder size and shape. At 10’4″ long it provides decent glide and tracking, while the 33″ width gives good stability and carrying capacity without being too wide. For that Fanatic have the 10’8″ x 34″. If you want smaller, they have the 9’8″ x 32″ x 4.5″. Itself a great board for smaller/lighter paddlers, but thinner and only suited to them.

This is a comfortable and easy SUP for beginners to start on, or intermediates to advanced paddlers to use. Cruising the coastline, SUP Yoga, paddling workouts, riding small to medium surf, slow moving rivers, bays, inlets, intra-coastals, tropical islands, you name it! It is also a great choice for families as the 10’4″ Fly Air can be enjoyed by all ages, with enough space for a child or pet up front. Carrying capacity is good at up to 230lbs. Most people can paddle this board comfortably, or smaller paddlers can take a pet, child or friend with them. The deck pad is large, comfortable and grippy.

In the small surf it performs well enough thanks to the thruster, 3 fin arrangement. The 3 fin set up also provides excellent tracking in most conditions. It’s an all round board with a rounded nose and tail so it won’t win any races but it will certainly get you on the water in most conditions and having a good time.

I’m 195lbs and I usually pump my Fanatic inflatable boards right up to their max of 20 PSI. The boards are well built so it makes sense to take advantage of the higher pressure for better performance. A stiffer board will always perform better.

It’s obvious why this size is the most popular in Fanatic’s Fly Air range, it caters to most paddlers for most all round activities.

Vitals

  • Length: 10’4″
  • Width: 33″
  • Thickness: 140mm, 5.5″
  • Volume: 284 liters
  • Weight: 21 lbs board only, 29 lbs with backpack and pump
  • Max payload: 230 lbs/105 kg
  • Fins: 1× Fly Air 7.6″ (19.5cm) US, 2× Fly Air 4.7″ (12cm) glued
  • Warranty: 1 year

Likes

  • Good looking board with great graphics and colors
  • Excellent quality construction and stiffness
  • 20 PSI max inflation pressure
  • Excellent all round stability and performance, with decent tracking and surfability
  • Large and grippy deck
  • Lightweight carry bag
  • Just the essentials with this board, bag and pump package

Dislikes

  • No kick pad at the tail for foot positioning assistance
  • No tail handle for easier board handling
  • No accessory mounts

In conclusion

An extremely high quality and budget conscious product from Fanatic. The 10’4″ x 33″ Fly Air is a great all rounder that will suit many paddler sizes and their needs. Stable at 33″ wide, but not too long at 10’4″ provides stability and manoeuvrability. Based on the hard version of the popular Fanatic Fly, the Fly Air maintains all the popular all round characteristics and adds in portability and convenience. An all round winner at an unbeatable price. Well done Fanatic!

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About the author: Julian Kidd
I have been an avid stand up paddle boarder since 2009. I retired from professional kiteboarding to focus on SUP. Green Water Sports grew from this love of all things SUP. As well as being a keen paddle boarder, I'm a hockey fan, football fan, closet petrol head, web tinkerer, husband and father.

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